Category: Traveling


(Apologies in advance: while this is the “short” version, it’s still quite long. >_> But, anyway, this is the post I mentioned on FB a couple of weeks ago, so a little bit is out of date [like the fact that I’ve been sick as hell for three weeks & counting].)

In August, I had a mental breakdown. This sounds incredibly dramatic, and I have been struggling with how to talk about it. I’ve written pages and pages of explanation of how I Dropped My Basket (which is what I’ve been calling what happened in August), and it is always so very long. Sometime this week, I realized that I could tell the story in pieces, that it does not all have to appear in one post. With that concept in mind (something that would likely be obvious to most people but was a true light bulb moment for me because it hadn’t even occurred to me), I am going to endeavour to try again.

I am beginning with dropping my basket, because it was a catalystic event for several things and certainly shapes where I am now. While I have not written a lot about it, people who know my family know that we have had a rough couple of years. The last eighteen months in particular have been pretty hard. A lot of it has been me. I’ve battled anxiety and depression most of my life; the last three years has seen a resurgence in prevalence of anxiety and a case of depression that I’ve not had for years. There are a lot of events that led into causing this and counting them all would take way more effort and time than I want to put into it. Like anything that happens with mental illness, it’s rarely one thing; it’s a puzzle.

To try to help you understand how hard this year has been, here are some examples of things that I was either not able to do or that would cause panic attacks or that would take days (or longer) for me to do:
– deciding what to eat (this question could literally be one of two or three decisions I could make in a day)
– leaving the house (for ANYTHING, be it for fun, for medical appointments, for simple errands)
– making phone calls of any kind
– talking to people (online, in person, etc.) There were literally days where talking to the three people in my house were too much for me, so anyone outside of it was outside the realm of consideration.

These are just some examples. The emotional roller coaster that I was (and am), is hard to describe. Rin has been a champion through all of this, and I’m still not sure how she handled all of it. If it were simply a case of handling my anxiety issues, it likely would not have been so thoroughly overwhelming, but life kept throwing us curveballs. There are several things that I will (hopefully) be exploring in more detail in the future, but I’m going to sum up some of what the end of 2014 & most of 2015 has had to offer:
– Last fall, I had an EMG that confirmed nerve problems in both of my legs. The diagnosis that resulted from that is idiopathic peripheral polyneuropathy (though it wasn’t completely confirmed until March 2015.) 

– Last November, I fell and injured myself enough it required an ER trip; that ER trip proved to be frustrating and required a follow up to my PCP. She was concerned at potential complications that can occur with neuropathy and falls, so she prescribed a medication (Neurontin) for me to try to help avoid both that complication and possibly help with pain issues. I started taking it, and it seemed to be helping. Seemed to be is the operative phrase.

There were complications with our family travel in Georgia in December including some family drama and me becoming incredibly sick. It delayed our return until early January (which caused a small bit of trouble at home, too, since people had been expecting us at Christmas).
January and February are largely a blur to me. Since the medicine seemed to be helping, I talked to Doc about increasing the dose. I started having more anxiety problems and a few other issues including thoughts of self-harm that made no sense (as in I felt like a passenger in my brain watching myself think these things). Since partially controlled pain can cause symptoms to be exacerbated (and in some cases can make them worse than before), after lengthy discussion between Doc, Rin, and I, we increased the dose again. This was a huge mistake. The worsening symptoms increased DRAMATICALLY, so much that I started to step back down to the previous dose immediately.

March saw me at the first appointment with the neurologist She agreed that if it was causing that much trouble I should definitely stop taking it. The catch was that I had to continue to dial it down which meant almost a full month of taking something that I KNEW was harming me and there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it. This was not good on so many levels.

April is typically a rough month for me for a variety of reasons. It was complicated by some miscommunications with my therapist which just added to the stress. My baby girl turned thirteen which was less hard than twelve, but was a milestone for her.

May brought us news that Rin’s PawPaw was doing more poorly than he had been doing last we had heard. This brought some serious discussion between Rin and I about trying to travel down south to see him. We had aimed to leave in early June, but life intervened.

June had a check-in with Kero’s pediatric neurosurgeon at Riley. There was a small amount of growth in her cyst, but Dr. Smith was not overly concerned. She did however find some concern in the overall level of symptoms that Kero was showing, and she took our concerns about them seriously. We all agreed that it was time to start the testing process so that we could learn more. Sadly, the scheduling process became one of the stressors of the summer as there were miscommuncations between two offices, and a bunch of other issues. The first test wasn’t scheduled until October which was frustrating, but there wasn’t much to be done about it. June also had me seeing a new specialist, a urologist. This was incredibly stressful and led to my own tests being scheduled.

For the next two months, various crises kept popping into our lives. We kept trying to schedule a trip down south and kept having to reschedule it. Thankfully, we had agreed early on that we were only going to tell a couple of people to avoid any Issues. Of course, the downside of this was that no one realized that we were struggling with travel plans that much, but it would have been worse for all of us if everyone had been trying to make plans and kept having them rearranged. It was bad enough with Rin’s mom knowing (and she knew because we were staying there first.) Not Traveling has been an overall theme this year.

August was bad. The urologist testing was far worse than I had anticipated, and involved a lot of unpleasantness for both Rin and I. The first week after was largely me helping convince Rin that I wasn’t upset with her and helping her handle what had happened. (This was also me avoiding thinking about it and recovering because holy fuck that took all week.) Just over two weeks to the day, I Dropped My Basket. (I’ll come back to this in a bit.)

More travel plans failed. We missed DragonCon, we missed David and Catie’s wedding. (We’ve also now missed Samantha & Dustin’s wedding.) We missed several other things. In fact, off and on, we’ve been Trying to Leave for several months. A lot of it has just been small things piling up. A good chunk of it was anxiety on my part and Rin’s, and my breakdown certainly didn’t help THAT situation at all. So, now, we’re going to try again in a couple of weeks and hopefully make my cousin’s wedding. *fingers crossed*

*glances up the screen* That’s the short version. Really. I don’t think I could simplify it much more than that, but it’s necessary to give a picture of how I came to where I was in August.

We had been having a disagreement. I couldn’t tell you what it was about, and frankly, it doesn’t matter. In the middle of it, I quietly said, “I want to die.” This isn’t something that I would say lightly, and it almost started a fight on its own because she thought I wasn’t being serious. Then, when she did realize I was serious, there was a lot of hasty explaining to get to what I actually meant.

The truth was I didn’t want to die, I just wanted everything to stop. I wanted to not be overwhelmed all the time. I wanted to not be in so much pain all the time. I wanted to not be terrified of the entire world and everyone in it all the time. I wanted it all to stop, and in that moment, the only way I could think to make it stop was death. Exploring further led to a lot of sobbing (hours of sobbing) as I choked out everything that was blocked up in my head. By the time I was done, I felt emotionally wrung out and empty. I certainly had no idea what to do with myself, but there was a silver lining in all of this.

A lot of the things that I was sobbing about were things that I’ve been holding onto for years. They included coping mechanisms that were really not helpful or healthy. They included beliefs about who and what I am supposed to be according to pretty much everybody -but- me. By the time I finished dropping my mental basket and watching it shatter into pieces, I could see that a lot of what I had been holding onto with duct tape, fairy dust, and anything else that would hold it together was not the stuff I’d spent the previous eighteen months learning how to get better at. It was all the other stuff. So, by letting it all go, I was able to give myself a place to start again.

Unfortunately, that place was (and is) fragile as fuck. I am having to rebuild how I think about myself and how I look at the world. But, within a week of having my breakdown, I was able to look at my sometimes-therapist Tom and tell him that I felt BETTER than I had in ages. I was finding that I was able to process things a bit more clearly, I wasn’t cutting myself down all. the.fucking.time. which I pretty much had been prior to that point. Nothing was good enough. Nothing. Tom made me examine a few hard truths, and he told me something that I plan to explore in depth in its own post, but overall, I was able to see that hitting bottom was probably the best thing that could have happened to me, timing notwithstanding.

So, that’s what I’ve been doing since August: rebuilding. I have been taking the things that Kim taught me about mindfulness, and I have been taking the words of Jenny Lawson, Glennon Melton, Brene Brown, Elizabeth Gilbert, and other writers like them to feed my spirit and my soul. I was finding more solid ground than I’d had in months, but at the same time, I was still struggling quite a bit. Aside from anxiety being a thing I’ve had for years, it is also a symptom of some of my chronic health issues, so it’s a double whammy. I’ve also learned that ADD can play merry hell with anxiety, too, so…triple whammy. It left me in a completely vulnerable, messy place.

In that place, though, I was able to genuinely consider a subject that my psychiatrist had been mentioning as a possibility for about a year. While he was not thrilled to hear that I’d been in crisis, he was pleased that it was getting better. He was also able to extrapolate that it was the irritability and other mood swings that were a problem, so he mentioned a mood stabilizer again. I was at first hesitant as I have been every time it has come up. In the last three years, I’ve had some pretty shitty experiences with trying new medicines, and the one early this year was pretty damn awful. I was not eager to jump back into medicine roulette, no matter how good an idea it might be. I also knew that I couldn’t take the most common mood stabilizer for reasons that I explained to him. He thought about and did some looking and realized that one of the newer medications in that class might actually be a good fit, both because it has the potential for starting at a very low dose, and it is listed as weight neutral. (I’m not going to talk about which medication it is because I try to avoid talking about active medications for…well, a lot of reasons. If I know you and you’re curious, feel free to ask. I might not answer, but feel free to ask.) Rin and I discussed it for a minute and decided to let him write the script with the caveat that I would not start it until after Kero’s EEG at Riley was done. (That was coming up about 5 days from my appointment.) The prescription was written, my refills were sent to the pharmacy, and off I went.

The Riley experience is DEFINITELY it’s own post, because it’s going to be long as hell because three days in a pediatric hospital breeds adventure. Or something. 😀 I ended up starting the medicine about a week later than planned, but I could tell a difference within the first three days. I refused to let myself get overly hopeful though. I was still too nervous. However, within the first week, I was actually able to go on errands with Rin. I didn’t have a panic attack before leaving or while we were out. We were at Menard’s picking up a couple of things for the car and the house, and I realized that not only was I NOT freaking out about being in public, I was actually ENJOYING myself and I was singing. It was…incredibly nice. We actually went several places, and then I was able to go out again the next day AND the day after that. (Going out of the house three days in a row was something that really hadn’t happened in awhile the Riley trip being the exception.)

Things continued to improve. I also had  A LOT  of guilt, because the clarity I was gaining and the emotional control I was gaining had me looking at Rin and frequently saying, “How the hell were you dealing with me?!” Thankfully, she helped me work my way through that. Since I started the new medicine, I’ve been able to reach out to people more – in text, anyway. The phone is still panic inducing I’m sorry to say. >_> I’ve been able to actually look at things on Facebook AND set limits for myself when I am becoming overwhelmed. I’ve been actually commenting on other peoples’ posts which I hadn’t been doing for awhile.

The biggest stressors have been Trying to Travel and handling the Teenager Dramaz. I also found out that my Grandmother has a small aneurysm and her sister died. It was incredibly upsetting, and still is. I am worried for her. And yet, I’m also terrified. Every day, I try to summon the courage to call and see how she is doing and every day, I fail at it. The phone is just too daunting and I have no bloody idea what to say, because, “Hi, it’s your crazy granddaughter who had a nervous breakdown this year and who is terrified of the telephone but wants you to know that she loves you anyway” seems a little crazy even for my level of acceptable crazy. So…I struggle.

For all that the medicine helps, it isn’t a magic wand. It hasn’t made everything all better and it’s not going to no matter how much I wish it were different. I keep being worried when I have a bad emotional day that I’m breaking the new medicine and Rin has had to talk me down from that one a few times. The biggest difference with those bad days though is that a) I notice it more quickly and can tend to stop the crazy spirals from becoming completely off the rails, b) I am more able to say, “Rin, I need help” in some variation on the sentiment, c) I am able to have a few minutes or an hour of being an emotional hot mess and then I’m able to balance again (sometimes anyway), and d) they aren’t EVERYSINGLEMOTHERFUCKINGDAY like they were before. So, there’s improvement there. A lot of it.

I’ve also been making the effort to feed my spirit with things that are encouraging. I save pictures I see on FB that have inspirational quotes. One day, I was having a bad day and I asked my friends to either tell me something amazing or show me something beautiful. Many people posted pictures. Since my phone has an S-pen which lets me write on the screen, I saved every single picture that people posted, and I wrote a note about who shared it and anything else that was relevant. I made myself those notes for the Bad Days. I think I might try this more often. I even made an album in my phone’s gallery called, “I Am Loved” and that’s where I saved those images. I am working at creating better habits. I am working at not letting the self-defeating anxiety monsters win, and I am working on trying to create new mantras in my brain to replace the negative mantras that I’ve lived with for years.

The most important thing is this: I am trying.

I am trying desperately to regain ground I’ve lost. I am trying to relearn healthier habits and I am trying to find new ways to manage both the changing things my body is doing (thank you so much neuropathy for adding to the “what will my body be doing today” game *headdesk*) and my mental health issues. One of those methods is talking about it. It’s actually helping, but more importantly, I want to show people that they aren’t alone. That’s why I finally decided to break up the monster update post (not that this is -short- by any stretch); by breaking it up, I will “let” myself write current things as well as cover other things more in depth. (Yes, I know. That sounds silly, but for some reason, I felt that having an update of where I’ve come from on my blog was important before sharing any new things. I just try to roll with the quirks in my brain…) Also, we will (hopefullypleaseuniverse) be traveling in a couple of weeks, and we’re going to be seeing people, and I’m going to be testing a lot of this new stuff during the holiday season which is…my worst time of year for anxiety probems anyway. I want people who see me to know that I’m a hell of a lot more fragile than normal right now. I’m also being a lot more honest than I have been in the past. Instead of playing down the type of pain I’m in or the type of day I’m having, I’ve been telling people the truth. (Or most of it. No one needs EVERY detail.) Hiding things like that is something that I do to “protect other people”, but it doesn’t protect anyone, least of all me. So, you know, if I’m having an awful pain day, I’m not going to try to hide it in the name of not upsetting other people. My theory is that the people who love me would rather know the truth anyway. No. That’s not my theory. That’s my sincere hope, a prayer, and something I am hesitantly counting on.

I also want people to understand that Rin is still doing  A LOT of taking care of me. I’m getting better at being able to do more for myself, but I’m still needing a lot of help. Don’t be shocked if I defer to her for most things; there are reasons for it and I’m not explaining all of them. Also, there are days where I just really cannot handle people well. People are scary, even people I love. Try not to take it personally if I’m really quiet or if I spend a day hiding in bed. It’s not you; it’s me. But…I’m trying and things are definitely better than they were in August.

I’m doing the best that I can. Please be gentle with me.

As might be obvious in a moment, I started this post on FB, intending to just make a quick, slightly whiny post and go back to what I was doing. It ended up turning (at least somewhat) into a post I’ve been trying to write for a week.

What’s on my mind, FB? Too much to actually process apparently. I keep getting distracted so easily that I can’t even remember what I was doing two minutes ago, which is basically the LAST thing I need tonight. I’m trying to finish getting my things together for this trip of insanity because I keep stopping in the middle of that to help someone else or just to stare at the wall.

While I can objectively step back and realize that the week delay in leaving has been an overall net good (we’ve had more time to get better, we’ve managed to get some of the work done in the house that we’ve not been able to for awhile from a combo of necessity/prednisone/packing chaos, and Rin’s glasses FINALLY came in this morning), it is also a point of frustration because we had a sort-of schedule and it obviously needs changing now. And, objectively, I know that’s okay. The people who that schedule change is going to affect already know and have been in contact and they keep telling us to calm down and not worry so much (which is helpful and more appreciated than they likely know), so basically, fretting over it is a by-product of my brain being unkind to me as opposed to something to truly be concerned about. I also logically know that I’ve known from the minute we started talking about this trip that it was going to have to be approached differently from normal. There were going to have to be allowances made for a body (mine) that is doing new and interesting things in the name of fuckery and I knew that I was going to have to make allowances for the brain changing work I’ve been doing and to remember to be compassionate with myself despite my frustration.

But all of that falls into the “logical” portion of my brain that I can look at from a distance. The “emotional” part of my brain seems to be running around like a three year old in a tantrum, throwing out phrases like, “I can’t do this,” “this is stupid,” and “let’s go hide under the covers; they’ll never find us there.” I’m tired despite having slept for a good chunk of last night and today (not that tired is a new state, because it seems to be the norm). I’m in pain because my joints are are being cranky and *glances at clock* it’s likely time for more medicine and I just want to scream about it but all that would do is make my head hurt and not actually solve any problems. I’m having a night where I want to have a stompy fit and rage about how “unfair” it all is as though somewhere along the way I was promised fairness which is absurd and most of the time that phrase isn’t even one that I tend to think let alone give voice to, because life isn’t fair and everyone should know that. But tonight, apparently, with the worst timing possible, my brain seems to be clinging to the need for fair as though it were an option.

I’ve obviously been pretty quiet the last few months. There’ve been reasons, some better than others. A lot of it has been the simple fact that I’ve not had much energy for dealing outside of my small part of the world. Health issues have been the name of the game since before October when my gallbladder started going rogue and they haven’t slowed down since. Since October, I’ve spent chunks of at least 3 months dealing with medicines that were causing horrible side effects and the withdrawal from those same medicines in the name of finding something that worked better. Two of those were for ADD which was incredibly frustrating because I really just wanted my old medicine back. I’m on a new med for that that is mostly helping so long as I remember to take it super early in the day and understand that it just isn’t as good as Old Medicine was. One of those was me humoring my doctor. Since I was having trouble at the first dose of  New ADD Medicine, and since I have pain issues, she wanted me to try Wellbutrin because it theoretically works well with the other medicine. I hate most medicines in the family that Wellbutrin falls into. I’ve had shitty luck with a lot of them and have managed to not take any of them since I stopped taking them about ten years ago because they just don’t do good things for me. But, time does change things and she put the choice in my hands, from the start of the medicine to the parameters for stopping if necessary, so I agreed to try it. I figure if she’ll work with me, I should work with her.

I tried it.

It was a very failed experiment, one that we didn’t realize all of the repercussions of until after I stopped taking it. It was actually making me sick (like with laryngitis sick), so we figured that some of the side effects the medicine was causing were just me having a cold. A few things culminated in the realization that, no, the medicine was responsible, and also, the utter numb/lack of caring about anything was a HUGE problem. So. I stopped taking it. And had almost a week of withdrawal issues followed by issues that I am STILL sorting back out. You see, one of the things I’ve been doing in therapy is learning how to deal with emotions as they come as opposed to shoving them into boxes either because I don’t want to deal with them/don’t have time to deal with them/can’t deal with them. This involves a new level of vulnerable living that is taking some adjusting to. It means that for the last six months, my emotions have been a bit…raw…at times while trying to sort where some of those bad habits came from and while working with myself to fix them. And in the last three months, I’ve been able to stop and pinpoint exact places where the therapy is working, that the mental ass kicking I’m doing is working, and that this is a Very Good Thing. And that is GREAT. Seriously. But.

But…

The Wellbutrin that I took for ten days turned me into an emotional zombie. I didn’t feel anything, didn’t care about anything, and didn’t really understand how much of a change it was making. I saw that I was having trouble making decisions, that I was having trouble writing, that I was having trouble knitting, and basically, was just Having Trouble. The big moment of “oh shit” came the night before a brain MRI. While I won’t say that I should have been freaking out over it, let’s say there should have been some level of concern and care involved. I didn’t. Rin was able to then realize that I had gotten myself stuck on something that Dr. L had said and had turned it into a Rule That Had to Be Followed. (In this case, she’d wanted me to try the medicine for two weeks, but it was never, “you HAVE to try it for two weeks”.) She took the medicine away and recovery started. Within 16 hours, my voice was almost back to normal. Thirty-six hours later and it was perfect again and ya’ll, I just don’t recover from laryngitis that fast. Within two days, I was so overwhelmed by my own brain that I wasn’t sure what to do and so it went.

Why am I writing all of this? I sure as hell don’t necessarily want to admit all of this. I don’t really want to stand up and say, “Hey, yeah, so I’m incredibly vulnerable right now and I’m learning how to be a better me and that means needing some extra space and care from other people,” because anytime you put a sentence like that out there, there are so many opinions you can get from the absurd (“you just need more self-control”) to the painful where someone sees that admission and decides to run over your boundaries anyway. It means standing up and saying, “I’m delicate” and waiting to see what happens next.

And yet, part of being able to stand up and say that is some of what I’ve been working on. Not hiding everything, not pretending to be something I’m not (which includes pretending to be “okay” when I’m not), not locking everything inside to maybe deal with later is all a part of this process. And some of it I was working on before I walked into therapy. By reading people like Glennon and actually taking the words she writes to heart, I’ve been working on this for months. Therapy is just adding to the groundwork I’ve already started and it has given me tools to build a better foundation. I like words, and that is one of the biggest things that my therapist has given me actual words to combat the things my brain likes to do. Mindfulness is helping me a helluva lot and that is also a good thing. Being able to stop and look at the things in my head and say, ‘Okay, you’re trying this old bad habit but I’m not going to let you” or even, “Okay, I’m going to give you two minutes to be Prophetess of Doom and Gloom, but then you’re going to stop and move on” is a huge help for me.

I just also feel fragile. A lot. Rin has been doing so much to help with all of this. She goes to therapy with me every week so that I can actually walk in the door. She helps me remember things (good and bad) that I forget through the week so that I can tell Kim about it. She helps put me back together when the world is too overwhelming, she drags me out of the house when she realizes I’m just hiding behind fear instead of a legitimate reason, and she basically, all around takes care of me. At varying points in the last six months, both because of my brain chemistry and because of all of the other health problems, she’s basically been supporting me so much that I don’t know what I’d have done without her. She helps me make decisions when I get stuck on little things. Hell, there are days she finds me something to wear when even that seems too overwhelming. (Did I mention just how bad some of the medicine side effects were at varying times?) She helped take care of me post-surgery recovery which I’m sure was a ton of fun, because after four weeks, I got more than a little whiny.

One of the frustrating points in all of this is that it feels as though I’ll find a point of balance and then something else comes and yanks that from under my feet. I’ll find a medicine combo that works and then stops working, so I need something new. Or, my body will do something new and creative (read: generally terrifying) and it’s time to reevaluate again. Her and Kero both are a constant source of help in all of this (though, Kero, obviously is less involved in the exact details of everything going on; she’ll get details like, “Mom’s having a bad reaction to a medicine” but not the specifics of what and why and she also doesn’t know about the quest for MS because she doesn’t need to worry about it; she knows there are tests but not necessarily what they are for and I need it to stay that way). Balance is something I crave which is pretty hilarious to me because a lot of times, I’m just…not great at it. It has been particularly frustrating with some of the new symptoms (or in most cases worsening of other symptoms) because I’ve not been able to pull my magic tricks of “okay, if this happens, then I can do ‘x’ to make it easier” because there’s not a lot you can do about suddenly falling over for no reason and there’s not a lot you can do when your limbs decide to just ignore the fuckin’ signals your brain tries to send to them. You just grit your teeth and get through it, and that sucks because I want a solution.

Kim often tells me that I’m a very logical person and I’ve finally stopped laughing at her. After spending a lot of my life hearing people tell me how illogical I am, it’s nice to see that the things I try to do to cope are actually pretty darn logical after all (even some of the unhelpful ones though obviously, there’s room for improvement). Searching for a new and somewhat terrifying diagnosis isn’t logical. MS is not logical. Part of me wants it to be that, not because I desire to be ill, but because I AM ill and I want an answer. Ten years of “it could be blah” is wearing on a girl and this could be an answer that makes a lot of things make sense. However, it is also terrifying. It means an entirely new playbook and some of the plays in that book are downright frightening. The thought that I’ve built my castle on though is that it either is or it is not; therefore, I keep going. Curling up in the corner in fear won’t change it and if these new symptoms are going to become part of the “normal fuckery”, then there’s nothing to do but learn how to handle them. It just takes time and patience and a lot of grace, and a whole lot of being willing to ask for help. To top all of it off, the neuro I was sent to has basically done everything wrong in terms of helping me sort this out, up to and including CANCELLING the spinal MRI that was on the calendar because they decided they wanted it done somewhere else and failing to call me and telling me that they cancelled it. Needless to say, I need a neuro. At the same time, it also means that some of the things I was expecting to have going into this trip I just don’t have. I don’t have the reassurance of the image of my spine to see what is or is not there. It just couldn’t happen. So, it became one more place that this trip had stressful parts.

Planning was another area that things had to change. So often, I tend to put everyone’s needs ahead of mine during trip scheduling. I try to make sure that everyone gets at least some time and I try to make sure that Rin gets to do the things that she wants to do and that Kero gets to do most of what she wants to do and if there’s time at the end, I do some things I want to do. (Which, for clarity, does not mean that I do not want to do the same things that they do. What it does mean is that while I DO enjoy those things, I also don’t tend to schedule trips/visits that are more for me than for anyone else. It means I make sure that I try to please everyone else without taking time to sort in what I -need- in the middle of it all.) I knew from the start of conversations about “impending GA trip” that I couldn’t do that this time. I couldn’t be the one to make the decisions about who we saw when, when we went where, and how to put it all together. I told Rin and I half begged her to be in charge of the calendar. She’s very magnanimous and simply told people that it was a joint decision, but since I’m already spilling my guts in a vulnerability storm here, I’ll admit that I begged her to do it and to not make me do it unless she absolutely had to.

That change has been amazing. It means that I’ve been able to help plan without worrying about this person’s feelings or that person’s feelings or this person’s schedule or that person’s schedule and could instead focus on the actual goals of the trip. Stepping back from it also gave me the space to say, “There are a couple of things that we’ve put off the last couple of trips and I’d really like to not do that this time, even if it means upsetting someone else.” At least one of those things is on the calendar and the family whose house we are visiting because of that request honestly has NO idea just how over the moon excited I am about that part of the trip; in fact, that visit has been one that I’ve been able to hold onto at the worst moments of “omgicannotdothiswhyamieventryingtodothisicannoticannoticannot”. It has basically taken a ton of responsibility off of my shoulders and has let me be part of the process without being in charge of it and that is amazing. It was also a somewhat risky decision.

Despite eight and a half years together, there are times that people like to discount the relationship that Rin and I have and her role in both my life and in Kerowyn’s life. I weighed the risks and found the benefits far greater. After all, a key part of that sentence is “eight and a half years”. If someone hasn’t come to the conclusion that Rin is my partner and Kero’s second mother, then they likely aren’t going to magically do so now; therefore, the best course of action was not what was good for everyone else, but what was good for us as a family. In fact, many decisions about this trip were made with that exact discussion. Something Kim frequently reminds me of is that I’m not responsible for how anyone else feels or thinks; I can’t make them think a certain way. I CAN present information and give them room to make a choice, but I cannot make them make a choice. The only person whose choices I have complete control over is me and I have to make decisions that I can live with later. Thus, a second layer of decision making for this trip came with conversations about, “what choice will you be able to live with an hour later, a week later, a month later?” It is a question that has come up several times and is one that stays with me because it is important. I can only make decisions for me and I need to be able to look at myself in the mirror at the end of the day.

Does it suck to upset other people? Oh sweet gods, yes.

Do I hate upsetting other people? More than you could possibly realize.

Am I growing up enough to understand that I can’t please everyone, no matter how hard I try? Yeah, I finally am.

I’m basically writing this all as a giant torrent of words as opposed to the organized thing I’d been considering writing before. I even wrote an outline for that complete with a timeline about when meds were wonky and what other things were going on, but every time I tried to write that, I failed. I think, perhaps, I just need to keep going with the giant torrent of words and hope that people will care enough to follow my rambling brain all the way to the end. (With a secondary hope that after I finish this monster post I started an hour ago, I’ll be able to focus more on other things.)

Everybody changes. It is a simple fact of life. Some people change for the better, some for the worse, and frankly, everyone’s opinion about which is which can vary. I’ve been doing a lot of changing in the last few years, but especially in the last few months. In some ways, it is making me a much better me. I’m becoming more forgiving of myself and my flaws, of the “weakness” that I constantly feel because I can’t just “pull myself up by my bootstraps” or “use more self-discipline” to solve my problems. I’ve become better at acknowledging that everyone has feelings, lots and lots of feelings, and that the real difference is simply in how a person lets those feelings work in their life. I’ve always been an emotional person and empathic sometimes beyond desirability; I’ve also spent a large chunk of my life trying to fix everyone else because I thought it made -me- a better person. The reality is that while helping other people is admirable, you can’t fix someone else – they have to do that themselves. Also? At some point, you have to stop trying to fix everyone else and make sure you’re taking care of yourself. Self-care is not my strong suit, but it is something that I am HAVING to become better at because if MS is what I have (and realistically, even just for the diagnoses I already have), I need to practice self-care all the time, not just when it is convenient, even if my need for self-care makes someone else unhappy.

I’m learning how to make boundaries, both for myself and outside of myself. I’m learning how to come to the point that I can see that doing thing in small bits, while annoying, is better long term than simply throwing myself into things. I’m learning to see that if reading an upsetting article or ten is a problem for me on a certain day, I can and need to walk away from them. The world will still have problems whether I read the article or not. I’m learning to say “no.” This one is hard because as people, we don’t want to make others unhappy, and yet, sometimes, ya have to say, “No, I’m sorry, I can’t do that.” Oh man do I have a battle with this one. It’s why a lot of times I depend on Rin to be my second back-up, to be able to say, “No, you’ve done enough” and to also help me realize what I have accomplished when my brain says, “That’s not enough, you need to do more.”

I’m learning to love myself. The real me. The one I live with every day, as opposed to the idea of me that other people want me to be. This is also hard. Gods, is it hard. “Who am I?” is a question I ask often, but the difference is that of late, the question has an answer more often than it doesn’t. Mindfulness therapy is helping me find the things that are important to me and showing me how to make those the things I build my mental and emotional image on instead of building it on some concept of expectation. I can look at my non-traditional family and I have no shame, because there is nothing shameful to be found. There are three consenting adults in this house who keep their private lives private just as most adults do in houses with kids. There is a healthy almost twelve year old who has two moms who love her to pieces and who are doing everything in their power to grow her into a well-rounded person while embracing all of the things that she loves and nurturing those things, offering guidance when she needs it, and who will, hopefully one day, finally convince her to wash dishes correctly. *headdesk* Does my family resemble what some people call traditional? Nah. Am I okay with that? Oh yeah. Why? Because it works for us.

I have more support from my partner in this relationship than I have ever had in any of my “traditional” relationships. Ever. And while I will be the first to tell you that I never thought I’d fall in love with a girl (cause, face it, boys are nice), it doesn’t change the validity nor the strength of love I have for the woman who is both best friend and partner. I also can’t think of anyone else who would be helping me do as good a job raising my kid than Rin does, and Kero tends to be priority number one for me. I also know that a lot of times, I let people brush over our relationship as “less important” for its non-traditional status and I’ve realized how much that has hurt me and my family. Kero, if you ask her what she thinks about having two moms, will tell you that she loves it and has no desire to change it. She oft wonders why anyone would have a problem with it because it doesn’t make sense to her. Don’t believe me? Ask her about it sometime and she’ll tell you she’s happy. Know how I now? Because we talk to her about it and we ask her how she thinks and feels because that’s important.

I understand that there are people who don’t agree with non-traditional relationships and I firmly believe they have the right to that belief. What I do not believe is that their belief has the right to impinge on the validity of my relationship, my expectations for how my partner should be treated, or how I personally feel about my relationship. Everyone has a right to their beliefs, but those rights should stop when they begin to impinge on someone else’s. For the most part, this isn’t a huge issue, but given that it is something that I’ve become more solid on in the last few months, finally not listening to the voices that say, “you’re wrong” and instead listening to the evidence in front of me that says that my family is pretty damn awesome and I’m quite happy even with all of the health chaos, I feel it is worth nothing. Rin is my partner and as such is involved in decisions I make. Period. Rin is Kero’s second parent and is involved in decisions that Kero is a part of. Period. There are no exceptions for this, nor should there be.

Something else that I’ve come to understand about myself is that I’m broken…and I’m okay with that. Glennon at Momastery talks about how brokenness is actually something to cherish because it means living without trying to be perfect and it means accepting all of the pieces of yourself and inside those pieces finding what you can use to make the world a better place. I still struggle with this one sometimes, but most of the time a simple re-direct from Rin helps to ease me back toward my belief that broken is not equal to bad. Sometimes, it takes more than a gentle reminder and she points out how pots are repaired in Japan with gold to show the cracks and how they add to the worth and value of the piece, even when they change it from its original state. Broken is not equal to bad and broken can even be sacred. I’m not going to find a magic cure for ADD or for anxiety or for fibro/CFS or for MS if that is what the eventual diagnosis is. Those are all parts of who I am. I could spend time fighting against them, hoping that they will magically get better, or I can be a realist and understand that this is the way things are and work within those parameters. But to choose to work within those parameters means acknowledging each of those things and making allowances for them, even when they are annoying. It means stepping back and realizing that barreling through something won’t make things better in the long run even if they help in the short term and thus deciding which choices are best at x time. It also means living with the understanding that, now more than even early on in all of this chronic illness bull shit, it changes from day to day and sometimes hour to hour. Right now, I go from “okay” to “oh fuck me now” very quickly. (One example, I’m not tolerating heat at the moment hardly at all. I start to get hot and I have to try to fix it quickly or else it becomes overwhelming and nauseating.) When your body constantly makes you live by the seat of your pants, you have the choice to dance with it or fight upstream against it. Since bouts of fighting upstream haven’t worked so well, and since between some of the writers who have spoken to my soul of late and Kim and especially Rin in her quiet vigilance have helped me to see that I DO have the strength to do more than just swim along, I figure it’s time to change my dancing shoes.

Do I still get frustrated? Oh sweet baby Jesus, yes. Constantly. But instead of letting that frustration eat away at me, I acknowledge it as a thing and then try to move forward. Sometimes, just saying, “okay, I see you” is enough. Sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes I want to throw a full body fucking stompy fit that puts the biggest diva three year old to shame. That’s just part of the dance, I think. So, even on the path toward more enlightened thinking, I still stumble and still need reminders.

Do I fail? Hahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahhhahahahahahahahahahahahhahah

*coughs*

Um, yes. I fail. Sometimes every day. Sometimes multiple times a day. But instead of letting that failure define the rest of the day, I try to only let it define the moments surrounding it. This is another lesson I’ve learned from Glennon (and in case you haven’t figured it out yet, you should totally read Glennon at Momastery because she basically speaks my language so, so much and so many times she writes things that leave me saying, “Omg, yes, I could write that same thing” and while our past backgrounds are much different, the way she thinks about things now is so, so helpful to me some days and yes, she is awesome and you should read her). Anyway, she wrote a post called Don’t Carpe Diem and it sings my language. Instead of trying to seize every moment of every day and make it “good” (whatever the fuck good actually means), she instead encourages people to seize the moments inside the day that help you find peace. For her, it is seizing kairos, or “God’s time” which is basically the time outside of chronus where God shows you He exists. Since my definition of God is a bit broad, I tend to insert “Creator” and move on because it works for me. The goal is basically to stop expecting yourself to make every moment magical because no one can successfully keep up with that and striving to do so just sets you up for failure.

This is an area that Rin and I both have been working on because both of us have had the bad habit of letting one bad thing ruin an entire day, even when that thing was disproportionate to the rest of the day. We were cutting each other to pieces doing this and finally have started to manage not to do so. We’ve managed to work on being able to take things as they come and accepting that shit happens and then moving on. It doesn’t always work, but I can tell you it has dramatically cut down on the number of hurt feelings about one or the other of us inadvertently crushing a day for the other. It also helps keep me sane. Not expecting myself to be perfect and happy and good every single moment has been a huge life saver. It’s been part of accepting feelings as they come and learning how to properly react to them (and “properly” here means “for me” as opposed to necessarily what works for someone else). Carpe Kairos is one of my snippet mottos (I have a list; I’ll share them with you!) that helps me get through days and stressful moments.

Basically, what I’m trying to say is that I’m not the same person I was six months ago, a year ago, ten years ago, twenty years ago. I’ve changed. I am still so very flawed because who is not, but I am working on those flaws and working to have less of them. I’m also working on becoming better at admitting when I’m wrong and being able to apologize and move forward instead of sticking to the unhelpful “but I want to be right” mentality that got me in trouble a lot as a teenager. I’m trying. I’m imperfect and broken and I am sick and there is no denying any of that nor is there really any changing it. I do the best that I can and right now, I am so gods darned fragile that it scares the hell out of me. No, seriously, it does. I want to be “strong” and yet, I really don’t, because the definition that I have of “strong” for myself is flawed. So I’m learning that in being weak, vulnerable, and broken, there is strength. In acknowledging that I can’t do everything, there is strength. In being able to sit and write this out, to admit that I am walking into this trip more vulnerable than I have ever been, there is strength. Inside that admission is a request for gentleness and compassion (but note it is not asking to excuse poor behavior, because if I’m being a whiny punk, I don’t want someone to accept that because #vulnerable) and the understanding that I am trying, some days so hard that I can’t even put the trial into words. Some days, Rin cheers me on when I make it from bed, to the bathroom, to the living room, because some days I need even those absurd baby steps praised. There is also peace in all of this, peace that I’ve not had about this trip since we started talking about it. For the first time in the last two weeks, I’m not dreading leaving the state. (And I don’t want people to read this and think that I didn’t want to see them, because it is pretty much the opposite of that. It’s just that people are hard and feelings are hard and it is totally possible to want to see someone and wish that you could do it from four states away to protect your fragile heart, is what I’m saying.) I am broken and vulnerable and oh, so scared right now. There are so many unanswered questions in the balance and there are still many miles to go before most of those questions are answered. I’ll answer questions that I can, but I ask that you not become upset if I say, “Not right now” or if I direct you to Rin and let her do the explaining (especially since I know for some of you, the potential for me having MS has been a brief note in the middle of two giant notes, one from Rin and this one from me, so I suspect that there are questions). One, she has a short version down that is easier to deal with than me trying to fumble in my brain and two, some days, I just can’t. It’s that simple. I just can’t.

As I begin to run out of steam, I’m starting to wonder if all of this sounds negative and I truly, truly hope that’s not how it’s come across. I can’t begin to tell you how positive some of these changes are, for me and everyone around me. They are helping me to understand more about people and myself. They are helping me to learn to live with who I am not who the world thinks I should be (and in this case, the world includes young me who had dreams that didn’t involve a chronic illness), because that’s the me I get to be. Being more mindful is making me less quick to snark, to judge, and to automatically assume the worst of someone because there aren’t as many negative thoughts running around my own brain to cloud my vision. (Which is not to say that I’m never snarky for anyone who was worried about -that- possibility; it means I am snarky without necessarily being mean and there is a difference.) I am becoming more able to exist in my spoonie skin without constantly being angry at its failings and even when I do become angry with my body, I am able to acknowledge that anger and then find a way to turn it into something productive. You’d be AMAZED at the difference that simply acknowledging emotions that can have “negative” connotations can be for me. It also is involving me learning how to judge myself less (because, face it, I’ve been my worst critic since I was a kid and that’s not necessarily the best thing) and to forgive myself more. This is the one area that I still have a lot of trouble, but thankfully, people help me to remember to forgive myself, too. So, all of this is good, but it is also so utterly terrifying that sometimes it leaves me breathless. To be open and vulnerable requires an entirely new level of courage on my part and even now, I’m becoming pensive about hitting the “publish post” button…and yet, I know I will (at least after Rin reads this for major typos/issues) and I’ll likely even go so far as to tag people in it on facebook just as a “please read this and see the me that is here and not the me I used to be”.

Also, if you made it this far, bless you. I can’t imagine it was easy and gods know it is long as heck. And since it is long, there’s one more thing I’m going to leave (and honestly, it’s just a testament to how stream of thought this has been that it isn’t peppered with more links because there are several things that highlight some of these points so much that I want to share, but I’ll keep it to one more and not be overwhelming) a video here that I watched from another writer who is quickly becoming one of my go-to “go to church” writers, joining Glennon and Jenny. This particular video is by Brene Brown talking about Listening to Shame. I started watching it one day, curious because I’d seen several folks speak highly of her. I had to stop the video about two minutes in to start taking notes for myself because it moved me that much. It is likely because of Brene that I’m actually able to put all of this out there without a panic attack and for that, it is worth sharing.

Love Wins.

We can do hard things.

#omgthisisscary

Placeholder

Tonight, I’ve been doing some writing and some typing of handwritten entries and basically anything I could to keep myself awake while Rin was downstairs in the hotel lobby doing laundry. What started as “I’ll just do this one thing” turned into a lot more than one thing. That said, there are some things I want to come back and write entries about. I’m on a bit of a backlog in this department and I’m not promising catching up this week, but I will try. I’ll also try to remember to post pictures!

  • All Things Halloween: Trick or Treating at Whole Foods on 30 Oct, Halloween night
  • RUM (Royal University of the Midrealm) in an entry that will encompass a) attempting to decide to go to an SCA event again, b) getting ready for that event, and c) the event itself.
  • Gluten Free: How it’s going and what I’ve noticed
  • NaNoWriMo (or “How I Lost My Mind”)

I think there were a couple of other things I was supposed to come back and write about, but right now I can’t farking remember. I can barely see what I’m typing my tired eyes are so blurry so needless to say, it is time for this bunny to go to bed.

Friday

Today has been a bit frustrating. This morning, I was feeling puny, so I let Rin and K go to the Big Tent Yard Sale at Boni’s house without me and I went back to bed. I was bummed at not going but I’m also pretty sure that was the right choice. They both had a lot of fun which is good and found some cool new treasures, including a vintage leather jumper for Kero that looks so freaking adorable on her. After they got home, we worked on finalizing our plans for the evening. We decided to head out to the Chicago area tonight for several reasons.

The first was that we still weren’t sure what time we would be meeting ‘Song and folks at the Field Museum and since Chicago is usually about two and a half hours from home, and I didn’t want to have to leave stupid early to get there, we felt finding a hotel room for the night would be a benefit. We decided on staying in Bolingbrook one, because hotels in Chicago proper are insanely expensive and two, there’s a BD’s Mongolian Grill in Bolingbrook, so the plan was to have a bit of early birthday treat. Plans, as we all know, tend to all apart pretty easily. :/ While we actually got ready to head out the door in pretty record time, it still ended up being too late once we got into town for BD’s.

We followed reviews in Google local that said Falco’s Pizzaria was pretty good and it was open until midnight (it was nearing 11CT by that point). I would strongly NOT recommend the place. The girl working the counter was awesome, and the pizza bread appetizer was all right, but our dinners were pretty bad. We ordered two kinds of calzones to share betwixt the three of us. Mine was chicken and mushroom and I could at least eat a little bit of it, though I kind of regretted it for a bit afterwards. Rin’s was so salty that even Kero couldn’t eat it and that’s saying something. Rin asked for a refund since she ate 3 bites of it and the man behind the counter was rude about it and acted like she was dumb, because obviously things like cheese and sauce have salt in them. I had to walk away at that point because yelling at him wouldn’t solve the issue. He finally relented and gave her a refund, but he was certainly a jerk about it.

We got to the hotel at about 12:30 and ran into more trouble. They had one room available and it was a smoking room. I was a bit “what the hell” because you usually have to request a smoking room. Also I’m spoiled by the states that have laws banning smoking in hotels. There were no other rooms available, so the desk guy, Esteban, took Rin and K up to see how bad the smell was. Neither to them could walk into the door. Since we had booked through Priceline, he couldn’t just send us to one of the other Choice Hotels without management’s approval and management was apparently asleep. That had me calling Priceline. I talked to the first rep and she had to transfer me to someone else…who I never spoke to. I was on hold from about 12:41 to 1:10. Esteban, gods bless him, actually found us a room. It’s a suite, and I suspect that it wasn’t in the room block because it has a broken television. He got us checked in and gave us blankets for Kero for the couch and was pretty much a freaking rock star. He could have just been like, “Sorry, it’s not my problem,” but he wasn’t. I think that is pretty darn cool.

By the time we got into the room, I was feeling a bit like an asshole. If it hadn’t been for me wanting to come out early, we wouldn’t have had a crappy dinner and hotel drama. Rin was working on reassuring me, but I still felt a bit like an idiot. I’m feeling better now, but it is still frustrating. (And obviously, now it’s 2am CT and we have a long day tomorrow.) I am a bit irked that my early birthday shenanigans have been way-laid a bit, but it will work out in the end I think.

We’re meeting folks at the Field Museum around noon tomorrow and wandering around there for awhile. I would have preferred Science and Industry, but it looks like there are some newer exhibits at Field since the last time we went so it will still be fun. Hopefully we got through all of the travel snafus today so that tomorrow will be much less stressful. Now, I’m going to knit for a little bit and finish winding down so that I can sleep without being tense.

The time for traveling is upon us once again. We were hoping to be out yesterday, although when we first started talking about travel plans, I felt that Thursday would be more likely given the other things that were going on in the week prior to traveling and packing. Of course the impending storm (amusingly named Draco) was causing anxiety and desire to be out sooner than was realistically feasible.

That said, packing is always a royal pain in the arse. Trying to figure out what we need where and when is annoying. When you factor in presents for our extended families, you get a right mess of things that all need to go in the car. We also have presents for K because we’re not making her wait until January to receive all of her holiday gifts. It’s made for some frustration, that’s for sure. Also, there were a few presents that either we hadn’t picked up yet, hadn’t figured out what to buy, or whatever, so there’s been a bit of last minute shuffling in terms of that type of thing.

As far as clothes go, we’ve been trying to keep it to about a week’s worth of items this time and just washing accordingly. Given that our washing machine is broken and we’ve not managed to figure out what’s wrong or have it looked at since it broke, there’s been some added chaos there. About half of our things are coming down dirty this trip which is pretty annoying, but it’s certainly cheaper and less time consuming than trying to wash EVERYTHING at the laundromat. That gets really expensive very quickly.

Outside of clothes and gifts, there are always the other odds and ends that travel with us. The requisite stuffed animals are easy to figure out how to pack and they go in the car last since they get used for various jobs on the drive. However, when you started adding up electronic devices and chargers for three people, as well as crafting supplies for the same three people, you get a bit of extra chaos.

I’d love to say that our house is super organized and that packing was easy and maybe one day it will be, but the reality is that just isn’t the case, so a bit of the chaos is simply trying to find space within which to organize things and also finding all the things that we’ve “hidden” or “put somewhere safe”.

Right now, I’m trying to summon the focus to be able to finish sorting all of my crafty/electronic/random crap items so that part is done and yet I’m not finding a ton of motivation to do so. Yes, I want to go, but right now, the whole getting ready process (that we’ve been working on in between the umpty-dozen other things we’ve had to do in the last two weeks) is wearing on me. I’d love to be able to just throw things into bags and go but we have to make sure that we don’t take too much down with us given that we’ll be coming back with holiday gifts and other things. We already have an idea about how big some of those gifts are but not all of them and we also want to try to bring K’s bike back up with us this trip, so packing lightly is a bit of a necessity.

We’ll end up on the road when we end up on the road and hopefully the majorly crazy snow storm will stay north of us like it is supposed to at this point. If it doesn’t, I’ll drive carefully and be annoyed with myself for not getting out sooner. Ultimately, we’ll get to the places we are going and we tried to build in a couple of buffer days before we Absolutely Had to Be There for just the sorts of things listed above. We don’t have an obligation to begin until noon on Saturday, so we still have some time, though I suspect that my sis-in-heart Megan is about ready to shoot us because she’s been looking forward to our trip for a bit. (To Meg, I apologize, but I promise we’re trying…it’s just taking a lot more time than either of us want.)

There is the basic “haha travel makes me insane” post of what I suspect will be several over the next couple of weeks. Anyway, I’m going to stop babbling and go try to get some more things done. I think my current holiday wish for most people is “may it be less chaotic than mine” but that might just be the packing talking. 😀

Saturday Evening

T’s aunt retired Friday from her teaching job at Ivy Tech, and there had been a planned family dinner to celebrate with her on Saturday. T’s mom decided to take it a step further and indeed up arranging a party of almost 25 friends and family members at Chao’s in South Bend. Everyone got there early (and we even made almost on time and before the guest of honor!) and waited for Debbie and Paul to arrive. Needless to say she was quite surprised. She kept trying not to cry; it was very sweet.

The way the evening was arranged was that our group was in the bar/lounge area and they set up a table of hors d’oeuvres so that everyone could nibble while they chatted. Since it was in the bar area and since I was in a ton of pain, I decided to be adventurous and try a new drink. Chocolate martinis are AWESOME! Also, Chao’s stuffed mushrooms are also amazing. Yum.

Once everyone was seated for the salad course, the conversation was light and cheerful and it was just an overall aura of good feelings. When the dinner course was announced, Mary Chris surprised everyone with the fact that they would be able to try a little bit of each of the entrees that had been chosen. The options were chicken Parmesan, lasagna, and prime rib. On the side were tasty veggies including zucchini which I love.  Adele, who is the main chef at the restaurant and who owns part of it and two others, was actually at our beef cutting station herself. The family at this point has had several larger engagements there and she knows us well. She is genuinely sweet and her food is amazing. She was having fun serving folks and being a part of Debbie’s surprise as well.

Rin and I were sitting beside Debbie and between the conversation with her and Bonnie across the table, we had a lot of fun. As the evening wore on and the dessert round neared, Rin and I decided to have another chocolate martini and I was practically bouncing in my seat because dessert time meant tiramisu. I did not like tiramisu before I had it at Chao’s the last time we went and I fell in love. Hilariously so did several other folks at the table and we once again cleaned out their stock of the mini-tiramisu’s. You can order a large size as well and it is incredible but it doesn’t have quite the same balance that the mini ones do. I suspect that part of it is that the mini ones are served in chocolate “bowls” and the actual bowls of tiramisu do not have that extra layer of hardened chocolate on the bottom. (As a heads up they do back a bit of a kick with the liqueur in them but oh, they are delicious as a rare treat!)

As the evening wound down I realized that I had relaxed quite a bit more than I had expected to simply enjoying the company, the atmosphere, and the background music at the restaurant. The shooting had left me upset and drained in more ways than one and the ongoing trip packing as well as prepping for Girl Scouts had left me very tired. As we were leaving I realized that the evening was pretty much exactly what I needed to help return some of my holiday spirits and simply good feelings.

Post-Dinner

Earlier in the week we had been invited to a friend’s birthday party that was also Saturday evening. We told him that it would be unlikely that we would get there before nine if we could make it at all. We didn’t leave downtown South Bend until almost ten, but Kelly had assured us that the party was going to go until Saturday morning and that we should come out anyway. We realized we didn’t have his or Jess’s cell numbers to double check this but as they live in Osceola and we had to go to Meijer anyway, we decided to “pop in for a little bit.”

Anybody who knows us well will read that parenthetical and laugh hysterically. We got there between 10:30 and 11 and we left around 4:30. o_O I actually hadn’t realized how late it had gotten until everyone at the party was starting to fade. We had a lot of fun and I’m actually really glad that we went over to hang out. It’s…been a bit since we were able to hang out at someone’s house and just chill with a group of people. Kelly and his family are members of Brothers of the Wind, so there were fun talks of camp stories and things like that. They have a son who is a little older than K and the two of them were pretty much go-go-go until right before we left. I was kind of amazed actually.

It was nice to be able to just go relax and shoot the breeze and tell bad jokes and have fun. Alas we could not just go home and go to bed as we STILL had to go to Meijer to pick up a couple of last supplies for GS. K was a bit upset by that point as she’d realized what time it was and was worried she wouldn’t be able to sleep before GS (because I obviously have taken stupid flakes lately and would totally keep her awake that long before taking her to do jewelery work, right?!). We actually managed to keep the trip to the store brief.

When we got home, I got the girls to bed and set to finishing up getting things sorted out. I knew better than to try the “I’ll take a nap and then get up and finish things” because that tactic has failed ABYSMALLY this week. Instead I ended up not sleeping because I got anal retentive about sorting out beads for the girls and making sure that I had everything I needed.

Cue the *dun-dun-dun* music here.

I realized around 10:30 this morning that the cord we had bought the night before wouldn’t fit through the beads. Needless to say I cursed like a sailor and then tried to figure out what to do. Rin was still sleeping and finally I was like “eff it” and got dressed and headed out to find what I needed. By that point I’d put too much cumulative work into these projects to fail at that stage. Sadly Target did not have what I needed so I had to hit Michael’s over on Grape Rd. Of course traffic over there was insane and it was raining and gray outside so of course no one remembered how to drive and 3/4 of the drivers didn’t have their bloody head lights on. (Seriously?! Rain. Gray skies. Low visibility. TURN ON YOUR HEAD LIGHTS!) Ahem. Anyway.

I actually did manage to find what I needed at Michael’s fairly quickly and then got to wait in line for almost half an hour. Argh. I did enjoy chatting with the couple in front of me, though I suspect they thought I was a bit of a spaz, but to be honest, at that point, I really was a spaz. From Michael’s, I made a run through the Krispy Kreme drive through and grabbed a dozen doughnuts for breakfast (that I then forgot to eat which seems like a crime somehow). I ran home and made sure the girls were up, realized Rin hadn’t immediately found my note and thus that she had been a bit puzzled, finished putting things together and then ran to get Rin and I coffee because she was being pitiful at me.

Thankfully Starbucks was blissfully quick this afternoon as we were edging close on time. I was hoping that they would be ready when I got back to the house but I did have to go find out what was going on once before we actually made it on the road toward scouts.

At the Meeting

The girls were working on their jewelry badge. Each badge has 5 parts to it and some of them are more challenging than others. In a couple of them, Rin and I worked together to combine them so that they were completing both activities but in a more efficient manner. I’m not actually sure who put the Jewelry badge together, but a) they could have been more creative, b) they could have put in more ideas for things the girls would actually use, and c) they could have used a few more details in a couple of the steps. That said, Rin and I came up with several interesting projects although the girls only really got to two of them today.

Rin was teaching them how to wire wrap stones. At our last meeting, she let them each pick a stone from the ones that she had gotten at the local farmer’s market. Each girl got two: one hematite (because grounding and centering for those girls, yes please!) and then they got to choose the second from items such as sea glass and blue sunstone. They had a lot of fun with the selection process and they actually had a lot of fun with learning how to wire wrap though I suspect that some of them found it more challenging than they were expecting.

The second project that we got to was for them to make a simple pair of earrings because one of the steps of the badge was to make a gift for someone else. I used the basic hook finding with o rings and some lovely shell beads I have. They are in interesting shapes similar to a rectangle but wider at the top than the bottom. There were a variety of colors and the girls fell in love with them. I had enough earring findings for each of them to make two pair so some of them made a pair for someone else and a pair for themselves.

One of our co-troop leaders is also a Daisy troop leader because she has two daughters. The Daisy comes to the Juniors’ meetings and sometimes she gets bored. The poor girl was very tired tonight and kept trying to find things to do, so once I got the girls started on their earrings, I started helping the wee Daisy with hers. She’s only 5 (maybe 6) and after watching me, she actually almost closed one of her own jump rings with the pliers. If I had remembered that Rin had the smaller pliers I bet that the wee one could have finished it herself. She was quite pleased with herself and I was pretty impressed given that some of the bigger girls who had more hand and finger strength were having some trouble with them.

Unfortunately we ran out of time so the other two projects that I spent four hours color sorting mixed packs of beads for didn’t come to fruition. I’ll just tell the OCD part of me that they are already color separated if I want to make something. *headdesk*

Adorably, because Rin is bad at keeping holiday presents a secret from me, last night she handed me a wrapped package as I was sitting down to work on sorting beads and making sure we had everything we needed. She had bought me a new tool set in a zip up case months ago apparently and decided that it might be a present worth having early given the activities of the following day.

All in all it was a pretty good meeting. The girls actually focused and worked as opposed to what has been happening recently so that was certainly a relief. Several of them really took to the projects so you never know what they might come up with later.

There was a bit of tension through the evening but it was resolved and it was spent recovering from hectic GS things and trying to figure out how on earth we’re going to get all the things done since we really need to be on the road by Wednesday of this week. O_O Rin and I watched a couple of episodes of Covert Affairs after K went to bed and I (obviously, if you read my last post) spent awhile writing. She started dozing off in the recliner so I kept trying to send her to bed and she kept falling asleep again. *facepalm* I finally got her off to bed and I was supposed to be following shortly afterwards but even after writing a “post of doom” as Rin called it, I apparently still had a lot of words in my head. Go figure. So now it’s 5:51am and I’m still awake. You’d think I’d have fallen on my face by now, particularly since I really haven’t had any caffeine or anything like that since the half coffee I managed to drink early this afternoon. It’s actually slightly irritating because I’m hella tired and yet…awake.

Hopefully now that I’ve finished putting more positive things into the air I’ll be able to settle out and head to bed. I hope you all have a lovely day. I’m sure mine will be insane…as will most of the next couple of weeks. I bet I’ll make this face a lot: o_O. 🙂

2:51am – I stopped for gas and a restroom trip in Lake City, TN, in part because I know the next 30ish miles are devoid of anything and really, I couldn’t wait any longer. I almost had a fit when I walked into the Pilot station on the exit because their bathrooms are broken. I thought about being petty and not even filling up with gas there, but it was $3.08 vs. $3.12 across the street at Shell, so I tried not to do a potty dance while I filled up. Then I made haste across the street and was pleased to find their restrooms working properly. Huzzah!

The drive is going pretty decently. There’s been a fair bit of rain but thankfully most of it wasn’t so hard it was hard to see. There have been some pretty wicked lightning displays though none quite topped the one just outside Ooltewah. About five jagged strikes lit up the sky at once making a spectacular display. I wish my brain could take pictures because that would have been epic to share. I pondered pulling out my camera to try to snag a few lightning shots, but that’s really not super practical while driving, more’s the pity. There’ve been some beautiful flashes in amongst the clouds.

We’re heading higher up into the mountains now, and I’m hoping the rain holds off until I hit Kentucky. This stretch of 75 isn’t as fun in the rain.

Anyway, I need to stop dithering and get back on the road…

Well, I said that and then got back to the car to realize Rin hadn’t actually woken up and come inside, so I had to coax her awake and get her inside. ‘Course now she’s back in the car, so it’s time to go again. Go figure.

******
7:00am – Why does the car smell like burning rubber?!

I got off at an exit to get breakfast because I’ve actually known what I wanted for hours but couldn’t find a stupid Steak & Shake. I finally found one and was just going to make a quick stop and get back on the road as fast as possible in order to not deal with awful Cincinnati morning rush hour. That’s when I smelled it…

Rin and I (mostly Rin) tried to check and see if there was anything obviously wrong. We know we need to get the serpentine belt replaced, but we were hoping to get back in town first. I’m trying not to be super frustrated because I was FINALLY making up time since Lake City. (My hopes for no rain until Kentucky were met with the exact opposite. In a section of road that has a 70mph speed limit and that’s fun to go a little faster, I couldn’t see jack diddly doodah. There were places where there were two inches of standing water. I was lucky to be doing 40mph and that is SERIOUSLY hard through that stretch of mountains. I got an unexpected upper body workout trying to ensure we didn’t go hydroplaning off the damn mountain. I thought about stopping, but the reality was that a) there was nowhere really safe to stop because that’s 20 miles of nothing, b) it was still pouring buckets and that was only going to make the water on the roadway worse, and c)I am stubborn and have a secret fear of getting plowed into by a semi if I stop on the side of the road in that area. So, I braved it best I could and cussed a lot. That’s part of why I was thrilled to have made the time I did from Corbin almost to Cincinnati. So, yeah, frustration.)

We are hoping that the smell is actually just the area. There are a couple of factories very close, so it’s a real possibility. I guess we won’t really know until we get back in the car. Blargh. For the moment, we’re getting breakfast…

******
10:00am – Long Breakfast

We ended up sitting for awhile at breakfast chatting and relaxing a bit. I’ve been regaling Rin with Cracker Barrel stories which has been entertaining. Part of our sitting was to avoid Cincinnati’s rush hour and in part because we kept nibbling on food. Pur server, Corrie was very good and quite sweet (she reminded me of Veronica). We were also entertained for a bit listening to the two older gents at the booth behind us tell each other war stories and talk books. Apparently they are regulars. One of them was disappointed in the gravy because it was very watery today. He asked to speak to the cook and he was polite with her but a bit stern; however, he explained exactly what was wrong and asked her a couple of questions. She went back to the back and apparently complained to her manager…and then proceeded to act like a raging bitch. She was angry because she hadn’t made the gravy and she let criticism ruin her morning. Rin and I had already had some food before that, but we ordered more of what we’d had. Mistake. While her first breakfast taco had been fantastic her second almost made her wretch at the table. And while the sausage on one of my minis was fine, the other was burnt. She also kept snapping off at our waitress who was being very polite. We ended up speaking to the manager because we were so not paying for the second taco and we wanted to give him the heads up that the cook was still being tetchy. I also commented that we had overheard the discussion and not only was he polite, he was also specific in what was wrong. I can’t tell you how much I appreciated a customer who could tell you exactly what was wrong instead of just saying it was terrible. I also pointed out that it wasn’t near so bad as what servers deal with every day. He was sufficiently appalled and agreed to take the taco off. So that was fine.

It’s nearly 11 now, and we’ve driven a bit away from where there was fresh asphalt and weird factories and the car seems fine…so I slightly spazzed unnecessarily. I’d rather that than ignoring it and it being something huge. So, back to driving we go. (The sun is very bright today…*mutters*)

******
2:16pm – Adventure!

We were set to head into Indiana when my girl lamented wanting Schlotzky’s. After doing some map checking, I realized it wasn’t that different in time from our normal route and tasty sammiches sounded good. As we headed into Cincinnati, I wished I’d had my camera ready to shoot. The cityscape is gorgeous! I think K will love seeing it and we’ve already planned on taking her that way at some point because of the bridges. She LOVES the metal bridges across rivers and other places and there are several around Cincinnati. She will LOVE it! The route also offered a different view for me and eliminates some of the most irritating parts of Indiana. The detour has been totally worth it as this is a very good Schlotzky’s (it’s even tasty enough for me to forgive them for teasing me with Barq’s Red Cream Soda on tap and it being utter crap. I thought the mix was just off…alas the guy told me it’s always been that way here and they don’t know why. I was very bummed. Also it was the only reason we bought a soda, though the regular Barq’s on tap was pretty tasty.). Now we’re briefly going to investigate Maggie Moo’s Ice Cream Shop before heading on the road again. I’m so not looking forward to getting back in the car…

******
10:49pm – At the Grocery Store

I will say up front that I volunteered to make the trip, but it is vaguely amusing that after long trips I end up at the store for something.

Long trip was long. We took an interesting route that included a detour to outrun a house. Two halves of a house to be specific. I got stuck behind them on what was the last stretch of the road. Rin found me a back road detour that let me go much faster. I’m sure there were other things I was going to say earlier, but other things have since run them out and I spent an extra chunk of time standing in the garage talking to K than I’d expected, and I only have a finite amount of moving energy left. (To be VERY clear, I do not begrudge the time or the conversation, simply wishing I had chosen a more sensible location. So, yeah, no making assumptions about my time with my daughter.) Do, yes, I’m going to pick up a few things we need and do some brooding. For some reason, while there was definitely relief to make it home, there are too many things looming and too many thoughts on my mind, so I’ll stop incoherently babbling and go be useful for a little while. Until tomorrow…(when I will not be driving to New Mexico as Mana teased. :P)

Yesterday, I slept. A lot. And Rin did more work in the basement and some other stuff. And now it’s 10:18 Monday morning and we’re somehow still in GA. Yeah. That’s how I feel, too. I’m not sure that we’ll ever be done. But somehow, we must.

What I’ve not mentioned much is that Rin really hasn’t been sleeping. At all. I think she’s taken a couple of naps, including an unplanned one on the basement steps early this morning. Now, I’m trying to finish figuring out how to finish the boxes she’s got downstairs, getting them upstairs, and finish getting the car loaded, oh yeah, and then drive us home. Blargh.

Of course, sitting on the sofa whining about it isn’t going to change much. Well, it might keep Rin from dumping the bowl of cereal in her hands onto the tablet in her lap, but that’s about it. I just know that at the moment, I’m still oddly tired after having some really freakish dreams and I’m feeling overwhelmed. I suspect Rin and I getting into an argument first thing didn’t help matters. (Sorry Chris. I’m sure that was awkward for you to walk in on first thing after Warrl woke you up with his air raid siren barking.)

So, yes, it’s already been an eventful morning if not entirely productive. Now I’m going to try to finish sorting things in the basement and get us out of here before Chris kills us both in self-defense of her own sanity. By hook or by crook, there will be driving today…

******
12:30pm – The car is 92% packed.

While Rin was passed out on the couch, I have worked on packing the car. In case you didn’t know, it is incredibly hot outside and after making six trips in and out, I’m covered in sweat. I’m also a little tired. Blargh. I just woke Rin up a minute ago, because she needs to get her art portfolio out of the garage and finish packing her bags upstairs. Once she does that, I will be mostly done packing the car. I’m pretty sure that unpacking it is going to suck donkey balls. Then again, it usually does…

At this point, I’m seriously hoping to be out before rush hour because I REALLY don’t want to deal with that shit today. Theoretically, that shouldn’t be a problem, but this whole trip has been frought with difficulties. I’m not placing bets on anything at the moment. My head hurts too much for that nonsense.

******
5:40pm – Fuuuuck

The car is now 99% packed. It’s also extremely hot for having been sitting in the sun all day. And it’s the height of rush hour. Super. I’m a bit cranky, but I’m trying real damn hard not to be. Hopefully I can maintain that. Hopefully. Let’s see if it lasts after I look at Georgia Navigator…

******
10:40pm – On the Road

We left Lilburn around 6:30 and made a quick stop in Decatur to get a snowball at New Orleans Snowball Cafe. I gave Mom a call to see if they wanted to have dinner with us at Waffle House in Cartersville. They’d already had dinner, but they said they’d come and sit with us while we ate. We met them there and had a very enjoyable dinner and fun conversation. I finally gave Mom her Mother’s Day present that I’d bought for her when we were in Oregon. I found a pair of gorgeous gold earrings with emeralds. She loved them, so that was good. 🙂

As they were getting ready to leave, she looked at Dad and said, “Take off your shirt and give it to her.” (He had on an awesome Woot shirt that I’d been bummed to have missed.) I kind of made a o_O face and Rin was having giggles. Dad kind of looked torn between embarrassment and doing what she said. I was like, “No, it is okay, really,” in part cause I felt for Dad and in part because while I know they have two, I know that they both really like it. In the end, Dad managed to leave the restaurant with his shirt on, but it was pretty funny.

Now, I have a full stomach and am maybe ready to face the drive though the weather is not looking in my favor. There are some pretty major storms around here, and it looks like I’m driving up into more. Hopefully a lot of that will have moved through by the time we get there. Hopefully.

We just filled up the tank, so I won’t have to stop for gas for awhile. I’m finishing up this bit while Rin is in the store and then we will be on this drive in earnest. I give her less than half an hour before she’s zonked out. Thankfully, I have some new music and a couple of new playlists on the iPod, so that will certainly help.

Into the dark we ride…

(P.S. I did write a post yesterday but it was too boring to tweet, but it still counts.)

Today will work much like yesterday’s post. I’ll keep a local draft all day on my phone and will add to it as I have the time or the inclination.

******
8:50am: At the airport

Waking up was less than fun, but everyone managed it with minimal whinging. Upon arrival there was a bit of chaos. While we were checking K in, I realized I didn’t have the keys. Rin didn’t have the keys. Fuuuuck. We finished checking in and I half ran back to the car to find them on the dash. Thank you Universe for watching out for my stupid ass.

I hauled butt back inside, and we realized with a bit of woe that we had to go through the regular security line. We’re used to having a wheelchair (either hers or courtesy service). Regular line sucks for pain levels. We made it through pretty quickly given how busy they were, and then we hauled Yush to the gate. Since all three of us had to go to the ladies’ room, K ended up being last board instead of first board. It turned out to be a good thing because it gave us time to hang out with munchkin and take pictures. By the time she boarded, she was more than ready.

Now, Rin and I are sitting and waiting for the plane to be in the air so that we can escape the airport. With Unaccompanied Minors, the adult can’t leave until they are fully airborne. I’m not sure where we’re headed next, though I suspect food is in the plan.

I’d expect more chaos later…

image

My big girl getting ready for her plane ride!
******
1:10pm – Post Lunch

We couldn’t leave the gate until 9:30. By that point, we were both famished, so we stopped at Atlanta Bread and had a snack. Getting out of the parking garage was an adventure as most people had ignored the machine by the walkway. It was a giant cluster and took a bit of jockeying to even get out of the parking lot. Once on the highway, Rin took a little nap. By that point, it was almost 11, which is when Mary Mac’s Tea Room opened.

I’ve been wanting to go there ever since we saw it on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, but our timing has always been off. I am so glad we mad it today. Not only was the food fantastic, but the service was wonderful. The entire atmosphere is welcoming and comfortable. When our server brought our drinks, he also delivered a basket of fresh bread with cinnamon rolls, yeast rolls, and cornbread. I could smell the cinnamon rolls across the table and they smelled intoxicating. The taste did not disappoint.

Since it was our first time there, we also were given bowls of pot likker and cracklin bread (cornbread with bacon). I was skeptical. I hate the smell of turnip greens and I’ve never seen any I wanted to try. This, however, was new and I’m trying to be more brave, so I gave it a try. It was tasty. After a few hesitant bites, I crumbled up all my bread in the bowl and it was super tasty. I’m pretty sure my Granny smiled in heaven today. 🙂

About the time I finished that little treat, our lunch arrived. It took us both awhile to figure out what we wanted because there are so many choices. I picked the Fried Chicken (the three leg option which I quietly squeed about because you’d be amazed how many places don’t want to give you just chicken legs) and ordered cream corn and fried okra for the sides. The cream corn was fantastic. They make it fresh every day and you can tell. The okra was good, too, but not quite what I wanted. I traded Rin my okra for her green beans (which had been my other choice). Rin ordered a vegetable plate with cream corn, Brunswick stew, green beans, and the cheesy vegetable casserole. She didn’t care for the casserole side and while the Brunswick stew had overall nice flavors, it was too acidic for her. A manager had stopped by to see how things were and she asked to trade for vegetable soup instead. He could have just replaced the portion from her meal, which is what she asked for. Instead he got her the larger cup of soup and even asked if she wanted crackers.

Overall, it was a fantastic experience, and we were discussing a plan to get dressed all fancy and go. We also mused that it would be fun to take Alena and Lisa and invite Parish along to watch the entertainment. 🙂

At the end of our meal, a charming older lady came up to chat and check on us and give us a back rub. It was nice, gentle, and soothing and gave me a bit of nostalgia for both my Granny and my Grandmother.

We’ll definitely be going back again at some point, and I know Kerowyn will love it.

Now, we’re at REI because Rin needs a new cane and it just happens to be summer clearance time, so maybe our luck with deals will continue here!

******
6:13pm – Moar Food

Rin was successful in finding new canes; however, the process took awhile. While she played with the umptydozen kinds, I sat and wrote in a paper journal which I’ll likely transpose into text here later. Watching her gave me brief gratitude for being short. I can use the kids’ trekking poles, the grip is almost perfect, and they are totally cheaper.

After that, we both tortured ourselves trying on shoes. I actually found a pair of sandals I liked quite a bit, but they were pricey, so we decided to wait for a bit. The process took awhile though. I’d had my eye on a few particular styles and struck out on every single one which was pretty disappointing.

I did find packets of chocolate almond butter at checkout which helped assuage my disappointment. It’s hard to find chocolate almond butter. I have a peanut intolerance, so no peanut butter for me, and hazelnut gives me a migraine, so Nutella is right out (though Kerowyn loves it).

As we were heading back toward Lilburn, it became clear we were both hungry. After discussing it, we settled on Pizza Cafe on 78. That decided, we gave Chris a call to see if they wanted to join us. They did, so now we’re waiting for them. If you’re in the Stone Mountain/Lilburn area you should give them a try. Their food is quite tasty.

******
10:30pm – Back at the house

Dinner was indeed fantastic. We took Mr. Monkey with us to let Chris and Troy have some grown up time. They’d asked if we minded if they went to a movie at 10, and we volunteered to take him with us on a quest for frozen yogurt. While I was waiting for Rin to finish in the restaurant, I gave Mom a call and discovered that she’d already found out about K’s adventure from one of her friends. I’d not expected her to find out until I told her. Ah well. I reminded her K isn’t THAT much younger than I was the first time I flew alone. It all worked out well. Cindy sent me a picture of the girls in Chicago playing in a fountain. They looked like they were having a blast.

Once I got off the phone, the three of us popped into a couple of stores before going to the yogurt shop. We went to Yogurt World by Kroger on Rockbridge Rd. It is a mistake we will not make again. The proprietor gave each of us one sample cup. They had about 14 flavors and we’d said we’d never been there before. We had to reuse them for different flavors. We sent Finn up for one more and the proprietor acted as though Finn was being rude and informed him that he would have to pay because samples were only if you paid. I understand that there might be people who would only eat samples; however, a more effective way of handing that would be to charge per sample cup if a person doesn’t buy yogurt. It is not to treat the polite ten year old like a criminal.

That was about the point that I started talking to Rin about leaving. I knew that several yogurt places closer to Decatur and Atlanta were open until 11. She started trying to explain to Finn that the man had treated him poorly and that she and I were going to seek our desserts elsewhere. She gave him the option, though I think if we’d taken a closer look at toppings I’m not sure we would have. We ended up not letting him have the fruit he wanted and gave him extra Oreos instead (and if you know us, you know what a huge deal this is). The dry goods looked fine, but the fruits and other bits did not. Rin sent him to get a spoon so she could stir his yogurt up while she added his toppings. While she finished up, I went back out to the car because I was cranky and having trouble being polite.

A few minutes passed and they came outside and Rin looked fit to be tied. Apparently, as she was checking out, she took the spoon out and handed it to Finn to hold so that it didn’t get weighed. She paid and was getting ready to walk out when the man walked around to Finn and said, “Next time you need to pay for it before you eat it. I know you already had some.” Rin loudly announced to the rest of the store that “just to be clear, no he wasn’t standing over there eating it. He got the spoon so we could stir it up and then I handed him the spoon so it wasn’t weighed with the bowl. Regardless, it won’t be a problem on the future because I’m not spending money here in the future.”

She and I went to Bruster’s just up the road where Benjamin proved to be cheerful, helpful, and patient. He listened to us kvetch about the other place and got us lots of samples. A few minutes into standing there figuring out what we wanted, Rin asked him how his yogurt was to which his answer was “not at all.” We had him pitch it and got him a single scoop at Bruster’s because there was no sense in possibly making him sick.

In better spirits, I got 2 scoops of Banana Cream Pie. Rin got a cookie dough blast half with vanilla ice cream and half with cake batter. Mr. Monkey had coffee ice cream. Now, I’m sitting on the sofa thinking about how tired I am and wondering what to do about that. I think that’s about all I have for tonight.

Until tomorrow…

I’ve decided that for today’s entry, I’m just going to put tidbits in and see what insanity words pop out.

I got up around noon, and Rin had made me breakfast and coffee because she knows me well. In the midst of the fun so far has been trying to ice my back, trying to get the necessary forms for K’s trip tomorrow filled out, and trying to figure out exactly how to pack the car. It’s making for some stress. To top it off, I’m having cognitive issues (read: my brain and my mouth aren’t coordinating and words are broken).

In spite of all of that we’re still trying to get stuff done. Rin called K’s old doctor’s office and got her immunization history, so that’s taken care of for her health form. Now we’re trying to figure out if we can just meet the trip bus in Chicago. If we can, it would open up our schedule some. If not, we’re going to be pushing it…a lot. 

******
It’s about 6:30pm now, so at least 3 hours from when I started. We’ve gotten a bit more done, but it is slower going than we’d like. That’s the trickier thing about adding stuff from the basement to the drive back. It means a lot more car finagaling than is really fun…and in case you didn’t know, it’s really hot outside.

On a positive note, we have learned that we can meet the bus in Chicago, so absolute worst case, we’ll just drive straight there. (Anybody who knows me knows that this will likely be the route we end up taking.)

That said, we’ve gotten K’s bag for her trip packed, my duffle is completely packed, my laptop bag is completely packed, and Rin’s duffle is almost packed. K’s extra clothes are going into the art cart that Rin bought from Corey to try to keep the damn thing from rattling all the way to Indi-freaking-ana because I’m not sure I’d be able to cope if it did. There are several things from the basement already in the car, but there’s still a lot to be done. I probably wouldn’t even be writing this if I weren’t trying to dry of from my very quick shower (taken because sunscreen prefers cleaner skin, though I think I may be safe from the sunscreen this evening at this point). Oh, and I also got the iPod updated with a couple of new playlists and a few new albums (The Brave soundtrack, Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream that I got for $3 on Amazon, and an album by the inimitable Sooj that we didn’t have yet. I can’t remember the title at the moment, but it has the song “Ravens in the Library” on it). You should totally check S.J. Sooj Tucker out at her website. I strongly recommend the album Blessings with some of my favorite songs like “Firebird’s Child”, “Rabbit’s Song”, and “Come to the Labyrinth”. Sooj is awesome. 🙂

Also, I have no clue what Chris is making for dinner, but it sure as heck smells delicious. I think she said she was making Asian style pork chops. Seriously, I wish you could smell it. It is definitely making me hungry. That also likely means we’re not leaving until after dinner…though that actually makes sense because it will eliminate a stop we’d have had to make anyway.

I suspect I am suitably dry for clothes, so I’m going to quit babbling and get back to doing things. Whine. I’m sure it will be better when we actually get on the road, but right now, I’m stressed.

******
8:45pm – Dinner was quite tasty even if the cook herself is being very critical of it. More medicines have been taken. Now back to the frantic car packing.

******
12:15am – Insanity Continues

Upon realizing we still had a ton to do and that we might not quite make it in time to meet the bus we started looking for other options. With a bit of desperation and trepidation, I checked flights to Midway. Surprisingly, there was one arriving in Chicago at a reasonable time. The trick was finding someone to pick her up. Thankfully, our friend Marco said “yes” before we even finished explaining the situation. I booked the flight online then called Airtran to sort the details.

Rin and I are still leaving tomorrow, but now we have a few more hours to get things done and more space in the car to take more things. Also, a bit of time to nap before we head to the airport though 5:00am is going to come awful damn early. Troy says we need to leave by 5:30 to ensure we have enough time. We have to have K at the gate an hour before takeoff and then Rin and I get to twiddle our thumbs and wait for the plane to take off. Fun times.

So, for now, I’m going to quit babbling and get some sleep…

[Yes, I cheated on the posting date but most of this was written pre-midnight so it seems fair.]